Monday, February 8, 2010

Continuity and Change

A boyhood recollection consists of the fragrance of my grandpa’s hair brilliantined with Tres Flores (Three Flowers). When he was at work at the lemon packinghouse, I would open my grandparent’s medicine cabinet to take a whiff of the Tres Flores bottle or jar—similar to what I did with Vicks, regularly. The perfume was soothing and culturally linked in my memory with what I closely associated as an aspect of what it was to grow up Mexican. As I entered junior high school and flirted with being a cholo-molo wannabe, as a husky adolescent I straightened my curly-brown hair with Tres Flores as though it would make an impression with the cholitas. It didn’t. I envied the slim and slick boys with straight, jet-black coiffures.

As I have balded over time, I no longer have a reason to lubricate my hands and head with this oil or jell. In an effort to vicariously relive my youth and continue this tradition in toiletry, I purchased a small jar of Tres Flores for my son. He too found the scent captivating. But he has quickly forsaken this hair oil. As historians know, change is the only thing that is continuous. Among Latino youth, I have been told, it is no longer fashionable to grease one’s hair with the old Three Flowers. What is now “in” is not so suave, at least in name. The new popular hair jell is called moco de GORILA.

Go figure. Any lingering doubt of my being a middle-aged, nerdy dad is now gone.



Christina Cabral said...

Memories. I remember seeing this on my Nana's dresser, she used it as a shine for her hair.

that girl said...

i have a similar nostalgic link between this scent and my grandfather. as you say, it is perhaps an aspect of what it means to grow up mexican. thank you for sharing.